SURVEY SAYS: When Tax Returns Are Filed

When I expected a decent refund, I filed my tax return as soon as I had the information I needed, but like many, this year, I was hit with a surprise.

Last week, I asked NewsDash readers, “When do you usually file your income tax return?”


Four in ten (40.9%) responding readers indicated they file their income tax return as soon as they have the information they need; 44.3% do so whenever they get to it, but before the April 15 deadline; 10.2% file their return on April 15; and 4.5% said they typically file for an extension.


Many readers who chose to leave verbatim comments said they file early if expecting a refund and late if expecting to pay. Some said it is best to file early either way so you know your situation or just to get it over with. Several, like me, said they were surprised this year, but it wasn’t always due to tax reform. And, there were readers who expressed thoughts about refunds as interest-free loans to the government. Editor’s Choice goes to the reader who said, “Death and taxes, you can’t avoid them. But may you plan wisely so neither is a surprise.”


Thanks to everyone who participated in the survey!



Earlier for my state return as I get a refund, but wait as long as possible for my federal return since I owe.

I do my own taxes, and Q1 at work is always a pretty busy time of year. I’m pretty pleased if they’re filed by the end of March.

I too was surprised when I filed even though I found out my refund was basically the same as last year’s. This was despite doubling up on my usual charitable contributions (I plan to just take the standard deduction this year). Filing early gave me a heads up that I needed to change my withholding for 2019!

Death and taxes, you can’t avoid them. But may you plan wisely so neither is a surprise.

Ever since I stopped getting a refund, it has been later and later.

Apparently I missed the boat for getting a tax cut – we owe quite a bit this year

I usually have a federal refund coming, so I file soon after I have my W-2, etc. This year the refund was somewhat less than prior years, but filing was a bit simpler. Even if you end up owing money, I think it’s best to know where you stand as early as possible.

Usually file in early February and look forward to a healthy return. This year, filing April 15 as we owe over a thousand dollars. Pretty painful surprise with no changes to our tax status from last year.

Two words: It Sucks!

If I get a refund I will file as soon as I can. If I have to pay in I wait until close to the deadline

Of course, we wait until early April if there is no refund!

My returns (3) are electronically filed as soon as they are completed. It doesn’t matter if I have a payment or a refund — just want to be done.

Not sure why people were surprised their returns are lower this year – less taxes were withheld. That being said – I was surprised when my refund was higher than last year. LOL

I’d rather file as soon as possible and be done with it rather than wait until the last minute to file–regardless of whether I owe additional tax or receive a refund.

Seems like everyone I have talked to is also not getting as big of a refund as last year.

I’m in the process of doing my tax return work and keep putting is aside because the numbers are putting me in shock where normally I would be getting a refund from Federal and State but this year, I owe. It’s a $6000 difference where together I’d maybe get $4000 back. This year, so far my initial figures put me in the hole $2000. There goes the idea of paying with the refunds for my annual insurance premiums due in May. It’s not all tax reform related because a large dividend hit from one investment that never produced like that before. I have to pay the tax on the higher investment income. Scrambling to put together the amount I owe. And then, I better finish the tax work.

Normally I file in late January or early February, but my husband decided to have a hip replacement during that period, so this year I filed in March – latest ever!

I never seem to have the time to file my return (which is fairly complicated) so I go on extension. But, somehow, I always find the time to file on October 15th each year and stand on line at the post office.

Do them early before someone else steals your SSN. I file early. If I owe, I pay on 4/15. I don’t want a refund. I don’t care to give the feds an interest free loan so they can waste the money the steal from me.

I prepare the return as soon as the information needed is available. If a refund is forthcoming, I will file as early as February. On the other hand, if taxes are owed, I wait until about a week before the April 15th deadline.

Usually in early April whether I get a refund or not – I try to owe a small amount every year

If I owe, I wait until 4/15. For a refund I file ASAP. This year as I was phasing into retirement and cutting back hours, I got a refund for the first time in ages!

We usually owe so we don’t file until April 15th. I was taught a long time ago that if you get a refund, you’re lending YOUR money to the government for an entire year. So now we make sure we keep as much of OUR money during the course of the year and pay the IRS on the due date.

I too was surprised by the much lower refund we will be receiving. Let’s face it, a lower refund actually means we kept more of our money instead of giving it to the government, interest free. My husband, who was never happy without a large refund, might be pouting but I’m ok with it.

I always start with good intentions in January and I’m usually ready the first week of April. There has to be a simpler way.

If I know I’m getting a federal refund, I’ve been known to file my taxes at the end of April when my state taxes are due. The IRS doesn’t care if you file late if they owe you money.

I figure, if I’ve already given the gov’t a loan, I should get it paid back sooner rather than later. If I find out, that I owe, then I can schedule the payment on the due date, like any other interest free payment.

Stop calling it a refund. You overpaid all year. You are getting your change back.

My husband farms-we are required to send our taxes in by March 1st.

Owning a business, seems to always require an extension. Plus never get a refund means there is no incentive to file early.

I would rather get it done early even if I owe so that it is one less thing to worry about.

I tend to claim zero exemptions so that I usually end up getting money back. My fiance, however, does the math each year to come as close to zero as she can so that she can make the most of investing that money.

As late as humanly possible.

When ours started getting complicated with a variety of investments and financial transactions, we stopped doing it ourselves and started paying to have it done. It’s ridiculous how much we have to pay, just to have someone else prepare them! I’m glad we have the assets, but it would be nice to file a 1040EZ form!

Like everything else in the past few years…the results were pretty lame this year…

It mostly depends on how lazy I am feeling. Last year I had it filed by the end of February, this year, I’ll be lucky to get it filed by April 15th!

I try to file as quickly as possible. A couple people that I know have gone to file only to find out someone has already fraudulently filed a return using their personal data. Not a fun thing to have happen and the clean-up is painful.

When we get a refund, we file immediately. When we owe, we file and pay on April 15th. However, we check several times during the year, so we can adjust our withholding to ensure we won’t owe at year’s end!

Usually, I get a small refund so I file as soon as the IRS begins accepting returns in January but not this year. Since I owe this year, I am waiting until April to submit my tax return and payment.

I have my numbers before I receive my tax documents. I update myself on the tax laws. I track every penny all year and adjust my withholdings to break even. I like to maximize my pay as opposed to letting the government make money off of me.

My refund this year was half of what last year’s was, but that was expected. I was happy to have more in my paycheck each week.

If I am getting a refund, then as soon as possible. If I have to pay, then by April 15.

It has been several years since we have received a refund and I felt a need to file early. My return has been ready for a while, but I will wait until close to the deadline.

It has become my President’s Day ritual.

Turbo Tax makes it mostly easy and painless, especially as my situation is usually not too complicated.

That is unless I’m a payer rather than a receiver. Then it’s the 15th of April.



NOTE: Responses reflect the opinions of individual readers and not necessarily the stance of Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) or its affiliates.